The wellbeing of the ward and whether there is any evidence that the guardian’s own conduct makes them unfit. For instance, if they have been convicted of any crimes or filed for bankruptcy, those could be factors.
Seeking a Guardianship Role
A guardian has specific responsibilities — limited or broad — to maintain the ward’s rights and always make decisions in their best interest. In some states, guardians must take a class to understand their role. If they step outside of the powers they were granted by the court, they can be removed. Grounds for removal include:
Failure to meet procedural standards, such as neglecting to file an annual report
Reasons to Seek Guardianship for Adults and Children
Guardians for adults may be family members or close friends. Often, people seek guardianship to help their aging parents going through cognitive decline or suffering from a serious accident or illness.
When both parents of a minor are incapacitated or pass, the parents may have previously named a guardian for their children in their estate plan. A court will consider their choice during a guardianship proceeding.
Guardianship is also necessary for children with special needs who will be unable to make their own financial decisions in adulthood. Again, a family member or close friend who understands the adult child’s needs may be chosen.
However, if no one is available to take the role, a professional guardian may be appointed in each of these situations.
For guidance and advice regarding guardianship and conservatorship, reach out to a local estate planning attorney who specializes in guardianship for adults, minor children, and adult children with disabilities.
Harry S. Margolis practices elder law, estate, and special needs planning in Boston and Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is the founder of ElderLawAnswers.com and answers consumer questions about estate planning issues here and at AskHarry.info.